Veins carry blood to the heart and have one-way valves that prevent backflow of the blood. When the valves of the veins weaken or are damaged, the blood collects in the veins. Blood pooling in the veins makes them enlarged, swollen, and twisted, known as Varicose Veins. It commonly occurs in the legs and feet.
Varicose veins are more common in women. Risk factors for varicose veins are being overweight, pregnancy, a family history of varicose veins, smoking, standing job, and old age.
Varicose veins involve the superficial veins closer to the skin’s surface. Due to the accumulation of blood, veins become bluish. Legs become achy, sore, and heavy. Night-time muscle cramps are there. Varicose veins are treatable by thermal ablation, sclerotherapy, compression stockings, or surgery.
Following exercises can help you with the pain and soreness-
- Calf raises– Stand with your feet slightly apart. Lift your heels and go on toe tips. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then slowly lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Leg lifts-Lie down on your back. Lift one leg and hold it for ten seconds. Lower it back down. Do ten reps on each side. Leg lifts promote blood flow to the heart.
- Ankle rotations– In a long-sitting ( Extending legs in front of you) or lying down position, roll your ankles in a clockwise direction 10-15 times. Repeat in an anti-clockwise way. Perform ankle rotations thrice a day.
- Ankle dorsiflexion– In a long-sitting position, pull your toes back, hold for five seconds and then release. Repeat ten times, thrice a day.
- Walking- It promotes the calf’s pumping action, helping with circulation. Walking eases pain and soreness associated with varicose veins. Aim to walk for up to 30 min a day.
- Legs up the wall pose-Put your legs up the wall with your upper body resting on the floor. Slowly move your body closer to the wall until your legs are vertically above your hips. Hold for 10-15 mins or as long as you are comfortable.
- Bicycle leg stretches- Lie down on the floor, raise your legs and then move them in a circulatory motion by bending the hips and knee as if riding a bicycle.
- Seated heel-toe raise -While sitting, you can do alternate heel raises and toe raises multiple times a day.
Avoid any exercise that increases venous pressure in the legs-weight lifting or jumping. Also, avoid abdominal exercises like crunches and sit-ups.
Varicose veins are preventable by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding prolonged standing. Do not wear restrictive clothing. Quit smoking.
STAY INFORMED! STAY HEALTHY!